James: No long termer

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Raptors guard Mike James, who will opt to become a free agent this summer, said yesterday that he would not necessarily demand a long-term contract when he and his agent begin to negotiate with teams at the end of the season.

James, who has been the constant target of speculation by the media as to whether he will return to the Raptors next year, said that a three-year deal, with a player option in the third year, may be the ideal contract for him, rather than a four, five or six-year deal, which is what most free agents request.

"That's probably the way I'll do it for the remainder of my career, signing three-year deals with a player option on the third for the simple fact that I'm not going to lock myself into nothing long-term because I believe I'm always going to get better," James said, following a team practice. "After those two years are up, I'll be 33 years old and I'll still let the NBAknow that I'm still a helluva a player and I can turn it over to another three-year deal And I don't plan on getting hurt."

In other words, James does not plan on becoming lazy or complacent after he signs a new deal, adding that he has a constant desire to prove himself because he is from a small college (Duquesne) and was not drafted by the NBA.

As for the Raptors, James said he hasn't had many discussions with GM Bryan Colangelo, nor has he heard any encouraging words from the new boss during the debate as to whether the Raptors should try to sign him to a long-term deal. James has often been criticized for shooting too often, too early in the shot clock. James said he understands that Colangelo is too busy formulating a plan for the off-season to come to his defence.

"I don't matter. I never really had nobody in my corner since I've been playing this game from the first time I dribbled the ball, until now," James said. "So why should I desire for somebody to be in my corner now?

"I've been fighting with my back to this wall this long in my life, so why stop throwing my hands now? I'm going to keep fighting in that corner."


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